One of the best-known Christian preachers, Chuck Swindoll is the Senior Pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Dallas, Texas, and Chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. He has been teaching for almost 50 years and tells Preaching his words of wisdom.

Preaching: You mentioned young
theologians. If you were sitting with a group of young pastors, young
preachers, and had a word of counsel to share with them about their
preaching, what would you share?

Swindoll: I
would say first, find out who you are. Your wife can help you. Your
closest friends can help you. Discover who you are. Know who you are. 

Second,
go through the process of learning to like who you are. Stop trying to
be someone else. Quit comparing. Give up envy. Your gifts are not their
gifts; and frankly, their gifts are not your gifts. Learn to like who
you are, how you’re put together, how you think, your personality, the
way you’re made. You don’t like everything about yourself, but you
certainly need to like the way you’ve been put together. You know
you’ve been designed by God. Know who you are; like who you are.

 Obviously, be
who you are. I spoke to Mark Young, who’s just become president of
Denver Seminary. He asked me if I had any piece of advice—I rarely give
unrequested advice—I said to him, “Be real, Mark. The greatest gift you
bring to the school is Mark Young. Be who you are. Don’t let a day pass
when you played a role. Don’t pose, If something angers you, say, ‘That
angers me.’ If something thrills you, used the words: ‘This thrills
me.’ Don’t be afraid of that. Don’t be afraid to tingle. If this
excites you, tell them, ‘I’m so excited I can hardly describe it.’ Let
them see your excitement. If this grieves you, say you’re grieved. Let
the truth out, because I think preaching is the truth of God through
the personality of the preacher.”

What made Spurgeon so
great was the personality of Spurgeon under the fire of the Spirit of
God. What makes Graham great is the Graham we’ve all heard, who with
that Southern accent, can deliver the gospel like few people we’ve ever
heard; and it’s just Graham. He never tries to be Donald Barnhouse. He
never tries to be John McArthur. He is authentically Billy Graham, and
I think that’s what I would say: Be authentic.

 

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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